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Canadiens Prospect Nick Suzuki Starring in OHL Playoffs

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GUELPH, Ont. — Nick Suzuki doesn’t say a lot.

He typically stays on the periphery, selecting to hear earlier than deciding if the time’s proper to make his ideas identified.

The Guelph Storm centre and Montreal Canadiens prospect actually has no such reservations on the ice — particularly in what has develop into a memorable spring within the Ontario Hockey League playoffs.

Acquired in January’s blockbuster commerce with the Owen Sound Assault, Suzuki leads all of main junior hockey with 35 factors within the post-season, at instances prepared his workforce to victory.

Nick Suzuki of the Guelph Storm. (Photograph by Terry Wilson / OHL Photos)

“He’s been large for our run,” Storm captain Isaac Ratcliffe mentioned. “He’s been that key man, that key participant we glance to.”

That run has been fairly spectacular.

Guelph swept the Kitchener Rangers to open the playoffs, however fell behind the London Knights Three-Zero within the second spherical earlier than profitable 4 straight. The Storm then discovered themselves down Three-1 within the OHL’s Western Convention remaining in opposition to the Saginaw Spirit, solely to rally for one more seven-game victory.

“It’s been a fairly loopy stretch,” Suzuki mentioned. 

Suzuki Stepping Up Large Time

Within the seven video games the place the Storm have been going through elimination, Suzuki’s mixed for seven targets and 10 assists.

“You may inform this was coming from a mile away,” mentioned Guelph defenceman Sean Durzi, additionally a part of the commerce with Owen Sound. “It’s virtually been anticipated. You see how a lot work he places in, how a lot he research the sport, how good he’s.”

Suzuki and his teammates adopted up their consecutive comebacks by shedding the primary two video games of the title sequence in opposition to the powerhouse 67’s — Ottawa set an OHL document by beginning the playoffs an ideal 14-Zero — however responded with Monday’s 7-2 victory that lower the deficit to 2-1. Recreation four is Wednesday night time in Guelph.

Associated: Nick Suzuki – 2017 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

The 19-year-old Suzuki was snagged in a six-player, four-draft-pick take care of Owen Sound — the final of a sequence of daring strikes made by Storm head coach and normal supervisor George Burnett.

“Whenever you coach in opposition to a participant like Nick, you actually have the utmost respect for what he does on the ice,” Burnett mentioned. “Then when you might have him in your personal room, you study much more about him, what he’s like behind the scenes.

“He doesn’t communicate loads, however when he does, persons are listening.”

Nick Suzuki of the Guelph Storm. (Photograph by Terry Wilson / OHL Photos)

The swap from Owen Sound was really the second for Suzuki in 4 months after the Vegas Golden Knights, who took him 13th total within the 2017 NHL draft, shipped the London native to the Canadiens as a part of the bundle for Max Pacioretty.

Assembly the Montreal Media & Being a Catalyst

Suzuki has 14 targets and 21 assists this spring, and bought a style of what life can be like in one in all hockey’s hotbeds when members of Montreal’s media contingent made the quick trek to Ottawa for Video games 1 and a couple of.

“I’ve observed it a ton,” he mentioned of the elevated consideration. “It’s undoubtedly taken a giant soar from Vegas. It’s a brand new, completely different form of ardour.”

Along with his OHL workforce in one other gap down 2-Zero on Monday, Suzuki was as soon as once more a catalyst.

The five-foot-11, 183-pound ahead helped arrange Guelph’s opener with sheer will in entrance of Ottawa’s web, combating off a defender to put the puck on a platter for Ratcliffe. Suzuki then arrange his different linemate, MacKenzie Entwistle, twice within the third interval to spherical out a tidy three-point night time.

“He’s simply improved a lot over time, simply these little minor expertise,” mentioned Ratcliffe, a Philadelphia Flyers’ second-round decide and Suzuki’s teammate for a season in minor hockey. “The puck at all times appears to seek out him.”

Nick Suzuki of the Guelph Storm. (Photograph by Terry Wilson / OHL Photos)

Suzuki is having fun with this experience as he tries to get the Storm into the Memorial Cup in Halifax later this month, however he’s additionally bought a watch towards what can be a giant summer season as he seems to make the Canadiens out of coaching camp, hopefully becoming a member of one other younger centre in Jesperi Kotkaniemi.

“Greatest-case situation is I’m enjoying within the NHL,” mentioned Suzuki, whose youthful brother, Ryan, is anticipated to go excessive within the 2019 draft. “I need to earn my spot.”

Associated: Ryan Suzuki – 2019 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Playoff Opponents Know What They’re Up Towards

Within the meantime, 67’s head coach Andre Tourigny is aware of Ottawa is in robust in opposition to a expertise of Suzuki’s calibre.

“You can not neutralize these guys,” Tourigny mentioned. “I’ve had an opportunity to teach in opposition to actually good gamers — Sidney Crosby.

“You need to shut down these guys? Good luck. If I knew how, I’d make some huge cash. That’s not going to occur. What’s essential for us is limiting his time and house and make him work arduous.”

Nick Suzuki of the Guelph Storm. (Photograph by Terry Wilson / OHL Photos)

Durzi mentioned regardless of all of the ability, arduous work is what’s stood out about Suzuki since they first met at coaching camp in Owen Sound in 2015.

“He was a smaller man,” mentioned Durzi, chosen within the second spherical by the Toronto Maple Leafs final June earlier than getting dealt to the Los Angeles Kings as a part of the Jake Muzzin commerce.

“His compete degree is second to none.”

That alone has the Storm believing these playoffs nonetheless have a number of extra few twists to come back.

___

Observe @JClipperton_CP on Twitter

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

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